From our Toolkit: Measuring Advocacy’s Impact

This blog is part of a series sharing tidbits from our Blue Garnet toolkit. Stay tuned for more blogs on data visualization, evaluating networks, and more!

It’s exciting to see that many of our clients are taking a systems-wide perspective to solve today’s societal challenges. In many of the strategic plans Blue Garnet has helped develop, policy and advocacy efforts are regularly key strategies. However, when it comes time to identify key performance measures to better understand the success of their policy work, things can get a bit tricky. How can you measure something that takes decades to see results?

We’ve learned that the key to policy measurement is measuring incremental progress. You don’t have to wait until bills gets passed to consider your work a success. You can measure the incremental outcomes or changes you make on the way to achieving your policy goals. In other words, measure the journey, not the destination. Additionally, we’ve found two helpful tools that will be useful to any organizations looking to measure the success of their advocacy work:

TOOL 1: A User’s Guide to Advocacy Evaluation Planning from Harvard Family Research Project

Why we love this tool:

  • The Advocacy Progress Planner walks you through four clear steps outlined in a straightforward worksheet (see below). The guide includes helpful definitions and measurement examples to leverage and get your creative juices flowing
  • You start with the end in mind by getting clarity on “users” and “uses” of the evaluation, as well as the key questions you’re hoping to answer. This ensures your performance measures are aligned with what you’re really hoping to learn
  • It forces you to prioritize your measures so you only measure what matters most

TOOL 2: Advocacy Capacity Measurement Tool from Alliance for Justice

Why we love this tool:

  • This tool measures your internal capacity to advocate. It’s a free self-assessment tool that assess an organization’s current capacity – or readiness – to engage in advocacy efforts
  • After you take the assessments, you receive a report with your organization’s advocacy assets, benchmark analysis which shows how your capacity compares to other organizations, and identifies your organization’s advocacy gaps and areas for improvement
  • You can take the survey every 3, 6, or 12 months to assess your progress and growth
  • Multiple versions are available – including a “quick” version for those short on time


Check out these tools for some great guidance! Let’s keep the learning going— let us know if you find these tools as helpful as we did, or if you have other tools that you use to inform your advocacy efforts.  If you still have questions about how to measure your advocacy results, don’t hesitate to reach out to

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